PhD opportunities

Oxidation mechanics of zirconium alloys: deformation, interface rippling and cracking

Thesis proposal

Area of expertiseMechanics
Doctoral SchoolISMME - Systems Engineering, Materials, Mechanics, Energy
SupervisorM. Vincent MAUREL
Research unitCentre of materials
ContactMAUREL Vincent
Starting dateDecember 1st 2022
KeywordsMechanics, Zirconium, Deformation, Cracking
AbstractWithin Framatome, the Fuel Business Unit designs, manufactures and sells nuclear fuel assemblies for PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor) and BWR (Boiling Water Reactor) power plants, as well as for research reactors.
The Component Operations Department integrates all stages of zirconium metallurgy, thus ensuring quality control throughout the process. Zirconium products are manufactured at five plants (Jarrie, Ugine, Rugles, Montreuil-Juigné and Paimboeuf).
The Ugine plant produces zirconium semi-finished products from zirconium sponge supplied by the Jarrie plant. The Ugine plant also houses the Components Research Centre (CRC).

The cladding tubes produced by Framatome are subject to corrosion by water at high temperature and high pressure during their stay in a nuclear reactor. This leads to the development of an oxide layer whose thickness reaches a few tens of micrometers in a few years.
Because of the decrease of the molar volume during the metal-oxide transformation, associated with a deformation known as growth, this oxide layer is born in compression and induces tensile stresses in the metal and thus a deformation of the components. In addition, the metal-oxide interface does not remain flat but develops an undulation which creates stress heterogeneities and ultimately a cracking of the layer.

The necessary knowledge is first of all a good basis in solid mechanics (including visco-plasticity), but also in corrosion (diffusion) and metallurgy
ProfileEngineer and / or Master of Science - Good level of general and scientific culture. Good level of knowledge of French (B2 level in french is required) and English. (B2 level in english is required) Good analytical, synthesis, innovation and communication skills. Qualities of adaptability and creativity. Teaching skills. Motivation for research activity. Coherent professional project.

Prerequisite (specific skills for this thesis):
skills in mechanics of materials and FEA. Crystal plasticity or phase field model knowledge would be appreciated.

Applicants should supply the following :
• a detailed resume
• a copy of the identity card or passport
• a covering letter explaining the applicant’s motivation for the position
• detailed exam results
• two references : the name and contact details of at least two people who could be contacted
• to provide an appreciation of the candidate
• Your notes of M1, M2
• level of English equivalent TOEIC

to be sent to
FundingConvention CIFRE